Since its 1949 inception, the Livermore Granada Boosters have believed that good students active in athletics become strong future community leaders.
“This is the 70th anniversary of the Boosters, making it one of the oldest non-profit organizations in our community,” says Mike Nagel, one of 34 directors on the board. “The Olympian Award Banquet is held the third Monday each May; this year, it takes place on May 20 at the Robert Livermore Community Center. Anyone is welcome to attend.”
Tickets, available online, are $25 for adults, $10 for children, and free for Granada and Livermore High School varsity athletes and coaches.
“The purpose of the Olympian Award Banquet is to recognize and honor student-athletes, and to award scholarships to the top scholar-athletes,” Nagel says. “The banquet includes a barbecue dinner, put on by the Booster Directors and volunteers, followed by a Hall of Fame presentation and Keith Fraser Community Award that inducts extraordinary athletes and coaches who have made significant contributions to Livermore sports history.”
In addition, the Boosters award $16,000 in college scholarships to four athletes – one male and one female from each of Livermore’s two high schools – and present awards to more than 50 varsity athletes, one from each team, selected for their contributions to their team.
"One of my favorite parts of the Olympian selection process is hearing from all the finalists at the Olympian luncheon," says Marie Dremalas, past president and current board member. "Every year we are absolutely amazed to hear about their athletic and academic accomplishments."
Around 500-600 attendees are expected at the banquet, including some 350 athletes and coaches.
Mike Morgan, the longest-serving director who joined the Boosters in 1977, recalls attending the banquet as a Livermore High School senior in 1965. “I remember that it was a big deal. I was on the swimming and wrestling teams and my grades were excellent, but I was not an outstanding athlete and therefore not a finalist. The finalists and the winner were all my friends, and I was proud and happy for them. It was a memorable evening that we all anticipated for weeks."
The Olympian Awards were instituted in 1958 to honor male scholar-athletes from Livermore High School. The award expanded in 1966 to include a male athlete from the newly-opened Granada High School. In 1979, the award was again expanded to honor one female scholar-athlete from each high school. Over the years, the Boosters have recognized 193 student-athletes and awarded more than $275,000 in scholarships, according to Nagel.
The Olympian Award Banquet is one of two signature events hosted annually by the Livermore Granada Boosters.
“The major fundraiser for the scholarship dinner is the Race to the Flagpole,” says Nagel. “The 10th annual Race to the Flagpole will be held in January 2020. The race begins and ends at the new flagpole in Independence Park, 2798 Holmes Street in Livermore, and runs through scenic Sycamore Grove Park. Events include a 1-Mile Fun Run, a 5K and a 10K. All proceeds support our scholarship fund for scholar athletes.”
Race to the Flagpole is open to all ages and abilities. Additional information and registration is available on the Boosters’ website.
The Robert Livermore Community Center, the site of the Olympian Award Banquet, is located at 4444 East Avenue. Doors open at 5:45 p.m., and the banquet begins at 6 p.m. At the banquet, each finalist will be recognized and attendees will hear about their impressive academic and athletic accomplishments.
"The world is in great hands with young adults like these finalists,” says current Co-President Vern Chase. “The future is looking bright."
To learn more, visit www.livermoregranadaboosters.org.